Mullah-ing It Over [UPDATED]

June 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm (By Amba)

Based on last night’s conversation on Twitter, Ed Morrissey is naïve to suggest that our president’s saying something in their support would help Iranian protesters topple the mullahs.

We’ve written repeatedly that Mirhossein Mousavi is no real reformer; he’s the mullah-approved version of a reformer, and a Mousavi “administration” would not differ much from Ahmadinejad’s, except in tone. Getting excited over a Mousavi win would be akin to cheering on Kim Jong-Il’s son to take over for Dear Leader sooner rather than later.

However, and this is the point that Obama and others miss, the Iranian protests have the potential to go beyond Mousavi — which is why the mullahs want to suppress them. The Iranian people have begun to awaken to the fact that they can be more powerful than the mullahcracy that has oppressed them for 30 years. If the protests continue to grow in number, Mousavi will eventually become a footnote as Iran frees itself from tyranny and grasps self-determination.

No one is cheering on Mousavi — we’re cheering the Iranian people. And we’re frankly puzzled why the leader of the free world has yet to do so.

Sheesh!  Before that comes anywhere near happening, there will be a bloody Tiananmen for sure!  The protesters’ only hope is a split among the mullahs themselves.

So watch Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri (“reformist cleric in Qom, and once the designated successor to Khomeini”).  His statement yesterday was nothing short of astonishing.  It suggests that there is dissent and dissatisfaction within the inner sanctum of Iran’s ruling clerics.  But I don’t have time to go read and find out how influential, or not, he is, or what allies he may have or be gaining.  If you do, please pitch in.

Here’s the New York Times archive on him.  Right away you’ll see that he’s 87 years old and was placed under house arrest for five years starting in 1997, for opposing Khamenei.  (It’s pretty funny, hearing people on Twitter say Newt is “too old” to run for president.  This guy is pushing 90 and still a playa.)

UPDATED: I should have added, however, that the protesters potentially give a dissenting mullah a power base; and in that sense, the brave people in the streets are a real contributing factor to some kind of eventual regime change in Iran.  It’s an alliance, in which neither the people nor a mullah could act alone.



  1. Maxwell said,

    I’ve started to wonder how much control the mullahs actually have over Iran’s military. See for example here.

  2. Rod said,

    There is a tragic history of the US encouraging protesters, then not coming to their support. I think that happened with the Hungarians in ’56 and I know it happened with Kurds and Shiites in Iraq during the First Gulf War. Civil strife in a country in which we have no intention of intervening is a delicate matter. You want to say what you can to acknowledge those who are protesting a corrupt or evil regime to which we are adverse, but promising something you cannot deliver sets people up to be killed.

  3. amba12 said,

    I was thinking about that this morning — what is worse? To say too little, or to say too much and then do nothing?

    Just saying something, of course, of itself can hearten and encourage — and thereby endanger.

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